Away from their books and pencils, the pre-schoolers have been getting their hands dirty changing their play area by extending their garden, adding a worm farm and adding some fun new features to their playground, all made from recycled materials.
As the students play around her, head teacher Fern Miles says having a garden where the students can eat fresh, healthy and local food straight out of the garden shows children the benefits of healthy eating.
The recycling project started towards the end of last term with the help of parents and includes a tyre swing, a see-saw, a tyre climbing pyramid, with a water feature and hanging prisms made from old CD’s still to come.
Meanwhile, back in the classroom, the grade five students brainstormed different issues on which to focus their written work.
Directing their letters to the relevant authorities, they wrote on topics such as purse seine fishing and road safety, as well as more lighthearted subjects. Here are some of those letters.
Dear Mr Prime Minister,
I think that helmets keep us from head injuries. I think that everyone in the Cook Islands should wear helmets on scooters. Helmets are one of the best things to wear on a scooter, especially if you’re riding in the dark on your scooter.
Helmets are safe for you when you are on your scooter. Sometimes it is just not safe to ride in the dark. That is why we must have to wear helmets on scooters in the Cook Islands!
Dear Prime Minister of the Cook Islands
I think that, like New Zealand and almost every other country, Rarotongan drivers should have to wear seatbelts. In the Cook Islands there are a lot of road works. In the school holidays there were a lot of crashes on the side of the road. Some people died, others were very lucky they didn’t die as well.
You should also have compulsory helmets on motorbikes. It is a tragedy that so many of our young people are dying needlessly. It’s time to make a change!
Why don’t schools have free internet? I think that all schools in the Cook Islands should have free internet! Schools just don’t have enough money to buy internet. School children need internet to do their projects and to research about big countries and research for our home work and our school work. That’s why all of the schools need to have free internet!
Imagine if schools didn’t have to pay for hundreds of dollars a month for internet? We could use the money to buy books, computers, other technology or sports gear. That would be a much better use of our funds. Free internet for all Cook Island schools!
Dear Mr Prime Minister
We must stop purse seine fishing because it is bad for the sea. Purse seine fishing is affecting the fish and the ocean. If we keep at it, all the fish will die. It may seem okay now but in the future all the fish will disappear. The Cook Islands has to stop purse seine fishing! If we don’t we won’t have enough food and the sea will die. What should we do about purse seine fishing? We should ban it!
Dear Mr Prime Minister
Must we litter anymore? Tons and tons of rubbish and sewage is poured into the sea every day. Turtles, for example swim up to plastic bags, think they are jelly fish and eat them. For turtles to survive we need to stop littering now! It’s not just the turtles lives we are saving, it’s ours too. Let’s make the sewage pipes point where they won’t contaminate our ocean. Just imagine a lagoon full of dead fish and yucky sewage. Where would all the tourists be? Not here.
Dear Mr Prime Minister and the Secretary of Education
I think boys and girls should definitely have separate schools. The reason is because boys do not listen to the girls when they tell the boys to be careful or gentle with something, for example a ball. They might hurt someone by hitting them with the ball and that person could fall down and maybe get injured. Boys can be mean, silly, irresponsible and sometimes boys can be really angry!
If a school only had girls in it, girls would help and encourage each other and get along much better. They would achieve better results and learn lots more. That is why we should have separate schools for boys and girls.
Thank you for reading.